Getting the deficit down

I want lower tax rates to boost revenues and encourage enterprise. The best way to cut the deficit is to have more growth which will generate more tax revenues and cut government costs on welfare. There are some in government, however, who want ideas to narrow the deficit. So here are a few that would cut the deficit without damaging UK incomes and jobs.

  1. Return to charging every visiting foreign truck a fee for using our roads. Many foreign lorries travel on our roads, competing against UK hauliers who usually pay road tax. They often also fill up with fuel away from the UK, avoiding fuel taxes. The HGV Levy to cover this has been suspended and should be reintroduced. Going up to a maximum of just £10 a day, it should also be increased.
  2. Collect payments for using the NHS on all visitors from overseas as current rules require. Encourage them to insure or to travel with sufficient money to pay for any Dr and hospital bills. There are too many stories of visitors not being asked to pay for their treatment despite the rules.
  3. Cut the VED rate on new cars to stimulate more new car purchases.
  4. Initiate an urgent review of the plan for the railways. The government has nationalised the huge losses the system must now be incurring. It needs to design railway services that will be better used in current circumstances with more fare revenue, and with lower costs from running fewer empty trains. It also needs to look at the large investment programmes and concentrate on new technology solutions to providing the capacity that will be needed in the new conditions. Presumably peak travel will be much reduced as more and more commuters work more of the week from home.
  5. Buy more UK government needs from domestic sources, subject to proper competitive tenders. This will capture more of the value added and tax receipts domestically on large procurement programmes.
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  1. Newmania
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Release business form the cost of Brexit- that would be the best Christmas present hard pressed employers could get. Otherwise as we fly past 100% GDP and upwards , the big ticket items will have to be cut . Welfare and the NHS
    I wish it were otherwise but it aint

    • Andy
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      The biggest ticket item is pensions. Cut those. The elderly largely wanted Brexit. Let them pay for it.

      • Hope
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


        Getting the da fixit down, you are having a laugh! We were promised balanc d structural d fixit by 2015, 2017, 2021 then abandoned! We on this site warned you.

        Then how about the March spend and waste, budget 11 days before national house arrest? We were told it was for three weeks! Revised date and then revised date! Sound familiar?

        Those who voted for your party of Fake Tories got Corbyn, oh and Red Ed helped by your party!

        Overseas aid, £15.1 billion, EU overseas aid contribution £3.75 billion. Remember Cameron was cold to tell the U.K. He would not pay the extra £1 billion to the EU and then quietly doubled it! How about the extra millions to the EU for helping immigration in Turkey? £4 billion to put illegal immigrants, people, committing crime, into four star hotels!

        Balancing deficit. Please tell us what Johnson has in mind in the March budget when he knew what he was going to announce? After all he sacked Javid so he could control the Treasury!

        • Hope
          Posted September 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          JR, please give us all the facts of govt incompetence and economic mismanagement over ten years. For example, please explain £68 million given in state aid to China!

      • Edward2
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        What would you do with the hundreds of thousands of homeless starving old people?
        Even the Lib Dems and Greens would think you a bit extreme.

        • bill brown
          Posted September 26, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          Hope is a bit extreme but this is not necessairly what he is saying , so please get it right old chap

    • beresford
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Better still, release Britain as a whole from the cost of the EU. The taxpayer pays vast sums of money into this tar-pit and pays inflated prices so that businesses who export to the EU can trade more easily, it is a very expensive way of subsidising business.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        +1 that would be a good start! Then we can ask people like Andy to continue paying into their pensions but contract never to draw them.

  2. DOM
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I’m convinced that our kind host deliberately debases his own history to adhere to the prevailing Marxist State orthodoxy. This personal betrayal can be seen across the Tory party and his evidence of a party that in existential crisis

    Mr Redwood knows full well but refuses to condone it that to eliminate the deficit the best method is to cut State spending and reform the State’s apparatus and yet in this article he details these puny methods of revenue collection

    We need less State spending, less State waste, less capital destruction from a State that is now a parasitic entity for the leeches that are Labour and the unions who see various areas of State activity as their political fiefdom (NHS, Education, Civil Service, Local Authorities, Social Work etc).

    It is this lack of honesty from the Tories that it is deeply offensive. Tory MPs know that their party is dead, now just a vehicle for careers and employment. As with Labour it’s purpose is the protection of itself and if that means smashing our capital base, handing power to the unions, politicising our environment then that’s what the Tories will do

    This was an article written not by John Redwood MP (ardent Thatcherite) but an article written by a politician that can no longer speak his mind for fear of retribution from his own side

    Either way, the die is cast. Johnson will take this nation in a direction that will lead to authoritarianism of a kind we have never seen before and he and his lackeys will use technology to enslave, monitor and control us

    Both main parties are a stain on the UK and they know it

    The Conservative Woman nails the Tory party to the mast. Kathy Gynell, Perrin, Cadman etc etc know full well what this party in govt has become. We should be all be fearful of a party that is so fearful of being slandered on race and immigration that they will capitulate to any demand to prevent it from happening and that means the majority will pay the price for their embrace of Marxist ideology and CRT

    reply I have also set out spending cuts I support, starting with HS2. Not everything is a conspiracy.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      At least 42 of the MPs are trying to get back proper voting.
      With “virus” legislation especially in mind. ( If I understood correctly).
      A bit of a rebellion.
      And JR has not deserted us.
      A bit of good news in a now horribly bleak world.

      • VirusMicromanagement
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Every member of SAGE should have to pay at least 6 months of their salary for every new restriction they suggest. They should pay £10 for every death they predict.

        That’s approximately the damage done by their measures to each person in the private sector

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      Well, with home-grown crime at seven percent of GDP – and the rest – isn’t there plenty to aim at saving, without slapping foreigners just for the sake of it?

      • Edward2
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes agreed.
        So go out and wave your crime stopping magic wand.

        • bill brown
          Posted September 26, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          Edward 2

          This is about teh same quality as your toll comments

          • Edward2
            Posted September 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            And your typing.

    • Peter
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      ‘It is this lack of honesty from the Tories that it is deeply offensive.’

      It soon becomes obvious which articles are thoughtful and genuine outlines of a situation or proposals for improvement.

      However, other items seem to be so much verbiage, written while wearing a blue Tory rosette.

      You can also learn a lot by which subjects you are not allowed to post about.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      I guess that our voting/party system was always set to come to this.
      To sound uber obvious …because Whig, Tory, Labour etc has always been about power and tribalism.
      And to get more power ( and money) kings/politicians pander to powerful groups.
      Then they have to keep on pandering!
      I blame 1832.
      No doubt my cat will soon get the vote!

    • Colin B
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Reduce Govt waste

      Reduce the size of Govt – the German govt spends a lot less than the UK on Civil Servants / govt admin

      Heads of departments in the Civil Service need to get better value during the procurement process when purchasing goods and services
      Better decision making by ministers e.g Graylings fantasy ferries

      If the Chancellor is thinking about reducing the triple lock on State Pensions then he should also reduce tax relief on personal pension contributions for higher rate taxpayers ( 40% ) by equalising it with standard rate tax payers ( 20% )

      Review the Barnett formula

      Make a significant reduction in the size of the Hse of Lords and reduce number of MPs to suggested 450 from current 630 ( ? )

      Reduce size of overseas aid

      • Colin B
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        Get some business people into Govt and run it like a business rather than cultivating it as a magic money tree

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          You can’t run Govt like a business because they will make the rules to enable them to compete with us and beat us!

    • Hope
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      JR, you are correct. You state those who use NHS should pay! We heard all this before and was dropped by Hunt!

      Why not tell us you are going to prepare for a pandemic like Cygnus! We currently have all this deceptive to deflect blame and failings of Govt. and NHS by saying this is something new, we were starting from scratch! That is true of any disaster or emergency hence why the Civil ContingencyAct was inteoduced to make it mandatory by law to prepare and test responses.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Sadly true, UK national debt has increased from£400bn to £2024bn this century and that does not include the time bomb of public sector pensions. What have we achieved with this expenditure – very little it would seem.

    • Simeon
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      All this may be true, but as long as the Tories claim that they are ‘less worse’ than Labour, they will retain their constituency. Until a sufficient number of people in this country demand better and an alternative party therefore emerges, we will have bigger and bigger government. But don’t hold your breath. This is a land populated largely by mushrooms.

    • Stred
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Why on Earth was the HGV levy suspended? If it was supposed to be because of Covid, this makes no sense. The civil service seems to be trying to do the country down at every opportunity.

      Importers must not pay for imported produce that is delayed by French customs and becomed unusable. It should be sent back or if they delay return, composted or become biofuel.

      Any bureaucratic trick played by Napoleon should immediately be matched by UK customs in Calais. EU countries that wish to trade fairly can send their goods via Zeebrugge, Rotterdam and Santander. Personally, I already avoid French goods where possible. My last three cars were French but no more.

    • zorro
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Indeed, not everything is a conspiracy, but how much is turning out to be a conspiracy fact rather than a conspiracy theory? Looking back on the last six months, I think that a lot of the way out things that contributors were fearing have come to pass….


    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Let’s compare Thatcher’s speech at this stage of her premiership with what you heard this week from a Tory government, or indeed your post roday:. There’s nobody saying this now.

      If spending money like water was the answer to our country’s problems, we would have no problems now. If ever a nation has spent, spent, spent and spent again, ours has. Today that dream is over. All of that money has got us nowhere but it still has to come from somewhere. Those who urge us to relax the squeeze, to spend yet more money indiscriminately in the belief that it will help the unemployed and the small businessman are not being kind or compassionate or caring. [end p10]

      They are not the friends of the unemployed or the small business. They are asking us to do again the very thing that caused the problems in the first place. We have made this point repeatedly.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      not everything? – but by deduction some is!

  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Replace VAT with a sales tax.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      20% of GDP should be more than enough to fund those few things government can do better than businesses, charities and individuals. So why are we nearly at 50%. Why do we need 20% VAT, 23% NI, income tax at up to 45%, fuel tax, council tax, 15% stamp duty, 28% CGT, Vehiicle duty, carbon taxes, landful taxes and all the other taxes and licence fee?

      Start cutting out all the vast government waste please.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Back in the day when people complained of Apple Corps tax avoidance, Steve Wozniak the Apple Co Founder was able to show that a simple equally applied sales tax on all commercial operations would produce a greater revenue than all the complicated systems then in place. I cant remember the exact figure but it was in the very low region of 1.5% to 2.5% sales tax just applied to all commercial activity and it would increase revenue by around 30% for the Country.

      Governments don’t like tax being equal they like to demonstrate, give always, hand outs, subsidies etc. So those that pay, pay disproportionately to make leaders look good in the eyes of the few. Governments complicate tax, then have to give allowances and subsidies to those disadvantaged by their rulings, then when that is not quite right more give a way’s are added. Very expensive to administer, collect and burdensome on the payee.

      It is not a sharing caring World

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      VAT has an audit trail, sales taxes do not.

      There could be a redesign of taxation around consumption, but sales tax would probably not be part of the answer.

    • rose
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      An on-line sales tax.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Yes, make it devolved and regional in England with all receipts bypassing the Treasury and make local regions compete and get into the real world: no money – no pay – like businesses.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink


    • Bryan Harris
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Yes – VAT never added any value.

      Call the tax what it is.

      Remove sales tax (VAT) from all the things we need to survive with — Making basic living cheaper

  4. Everhopeful
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    The EU issued an “infringement warning” regarding the heavy lorry charge (2014).
    They felt that it discriminated against non UK lorries!
    I think it has been scrapped for Covid until July 2021.
    Probably with a view to never bringing it back?
    Why would a virus make any difference?
    Seems more like a sort of integration.

  5. Iain Gill
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    There is no opposition.

    There is no opposition to the woke agenda.

    There is no opposition to the anti petrol car agenda.

    There is no opposition to mass immigration.

    There is no opposition to identify politics.

    There is no opposition to telling people how they must think.

    There is no opposition to handing more power to the state and away from individuals.

    There is no opposition to continual erosion of freedom.

    There is no opposition to poor quality state mandarins.

    There is no opposition to treating the white working class like third class citizens, especially men, especially heterosexuals.

    There is no opposition to wasting money.

    There is no opposition to favouritism.

    There is no opposition to money printing.

    There is no opposition to centralisation.

    There is no opposition to handing large projects to the same big consultancies that keep screwing them up.

    We have politics by the woke for the woke and all the parties and their failed candidate selection processes only want the woke.

    None of them know the difference between deficit and debt, none of them care.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more with your comments

      • Iain Gill
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


  6. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    John, I think that the UK needs Continental roads – and ports, and airspace – more than vice-versa, somehow.

    If reciprocal charges were introduced – as they would be – then the UK would be a very heavy net loser.

    But “let’s hit foreigners” always plays well with your followers, it seems. Trouble is, they’re more than capable of hitting back these days.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      the reverse is true.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      In France our lorries pay to use the main motorways.
      And there are similar tolls in other European countries.
      Our ships boats and planes also pay to use port facilities.

      • bill brown
        Posted September 26, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        Edward 2

        Lots of countries in Europe hae no toll as well. Like all of Scandinavia, most of Spain, Croatia and so on. Do your research

        • dixie
          Posted September 26, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Do yours, where do you think the bulk of our goods are shipped to in the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 26, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            Thank you dixie.
            Saved me a response to our troll.

          • bill brown
            Posted September 26, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink


            Mine is the UK so the answer no toll.

            thank you

  7. agricola
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Yes to your thoughts, but add an extensive revue of our tax system aimed at simplification and incentivisation of individuals and businesses to greater activity and ultimstely greater government revenue. Destroy the need for an avoidance industry. If people and businesses have more, they will spend more.

    Realise that in this new world we have entered, railwsys have a smaller part to play and airlines are much cheaper.

    Government should become a facilitator not a drag on the economy. Let us know now where all the free ports are to be located so we can plan ahead. Search out future ministers who can drive a 21st century UK.

    • agricola
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      The country needs cheap power and we all now know where and how it can be obtained. A necesssry pre- requisite is to curb nimbyism and extinguish for good extinsion rebellion. Could be fun.

  8. Sea Warrior
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    ‘There are too many stories of visitors not being asked to pay for their treatment despite the rules.’
    Just how much longer will we have to wait before the government ACTS? The Conservatives have been in power since 2010. Perhaps, Sir John, you need to ask a question on the matter at the next Health Department Questions.

  9. Adam
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Illness consumes enormous expense for the affected person and the many others they involve. Subsidising private health insurance can remove the higher burden from the state.

    Central barriers on motorways waste driving space. Build the new motorways with a shared hard shoulder there instead, and route the slow traffic next to it. Then, you can overtake away from vehicles in the opposite direction. The change adds 33% road space, but does Govt not see the solution?

    • Fred H
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      it might be logical but how many years of carnage and unlimited death and injury before people no longer drive on them?

      • Adam
        Posted September 26, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

        If you overtake on an ordinary 60mph road, Fred, you share space with opposite-destined traffic at risk of 120mph impact.

        On a sensibly-designed motorway, the fast traffic is widest apart, so if you overtake at 60mph in the outside lane, all the opposite-destined drivers are at least 5 lanes away from you.

        However, if you prefer, you can drive on your Govt’s motorway which uses 3 lanes each way for moving and 2 for wastefully-duplicated hard shoulders. You could also block the lane in the centre by storing a metal barrier there.

        Where would the carnage you describe occur, Fred?

        • Fred H
          Posted September 26, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          You really want to remove central barriers?
          Cars/Lorries needing to stop on both sides head for a single hard shoulder in the middle? Madness”
          We adopt part of driving on the right – by slow on the right, fast on the left? How do we exit motorways? Cross fast traffic lanes?
          I must have misunderstood otherwise it is crazy.

          • Adam
            Posted September 26, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            You have misunderstood, Fred.

            You would have 9 lanes, consuming no more space than the 6 do now.

            The 33% extra road surface used adds safety space between vehicles.

            You would drive on the left as now, and overtake on the right, as now.
            You would exit on the left, as now.
            You would cross other traffic by overpass, tunnel or roundabout, as now.

            The Red lane in the centre remains empty unless you need assistance, or Rescue services need access.

            If you foresee danger without a physical device in the centre, a pivoted angled barrier can deflect traffic from both directions onto a safe forward path, as well as providing refuge points within the space between.

            If you have further query, I’ll try to assist.

  10. Peter
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Dream on.

    Reducing the deficit will not happen.

    There will be income tax increases and further raids on inheritance funds.

    Probably more scams that we have not previously heard of, prompted by those City spivs whose name we are not allowed to mention on here,

  11. Mark B
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Sir John. I take issue with the wording of item 2. Enforce the rules ? Encourage people from overseas to pay for healthcare ? This is not the language of someone who sees a clear problem and wishes it to be fixed. In some countries you cannot get a visa without medical insurance. Why can’t we do the same ? Why can’t we make it illegal to treat someone who has come here soley to take advantage of our generosity?

    Too weak. Too limp wristed.

  12. GilesB
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    £1,000 a trip would be a fair charge for using the U.K. land bridge between Ireland and the continent

    • GilesB
      Posted September 26, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I hear that there is an agreement to fast-track at Dover trucks with Irish exports.

      Why? It makes more sense to reallocate Customs and other border staff to Dover from Holyhead and Liverpool.

      Here is some data on the 150,000 truck journeys using our motorway network for free.
      Some 150,000 Irish lorries use the landbridge every year. About 40 per cent of Irish exports and 13 per cent of imports cross the trade thoroughfare every year.

      The value of trade crossing the landbridge was €18 billion in exports and €3 billion in imports in 2016, according to a report on the route by the Irish Maritime Development Office.

      More than 80 per cent of the one million “roll-on, roll-off” lorries using Irish ports every year go through UK ports, with the remainder going on direct routes to continental Europe.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    All sensible stuff. Cancel the absurd HS2 for a start. Far less goverment is needed everywhere and far more freedom. The NHS should charge everyone who can afford to pay so as to encourage more private provision. Rather than to kill most of it as now.

    Tax breaks are needed for people who use privage medical services as they are not usuing NHS ones. Similarly for schools and universities. Then cull all the many worthless degrees and soft loans for useless degrees.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      If these university lecturers are so bright let most of them them start a business with their redundancy payments and employ some people and train them on the job.

      Let’s see how they all get on.

      • Ian Turner
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Ha – I like the idea! They would have to cope with alien concepts like Cash Flow and Profits… Dream on.

  14. turboterrier
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    No 3. Not only the VED on new cars but also reduce the tax over £40k. The more top end cars manufactured and sold increases the manufacturers and their suppliers and franchised dealership profits. . The higher their profits the more tax they pay.

    All hospitals and consultants failing to implement charges to health tourists has the costs for the operations and after care taken from their subsidies and funding

    Sorry Sir John but this situation is very serious and everybody has got to step up to the mark and there can be no excuses or hiding places. Can every minister focus on the real priorities and start to give us confidence in their abilities of they have any? They have to produce a plan that you the rest of parliament can trust and believe in and the country will get behind them as a United force.

  15. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    As you are surely aware the minds of successive Governments just don’t understand tax. Sure tax is the revenue stream to keep the wheels of state turning, but the way it is applied is not equal, and the greater the burden the less gets paid. Recent Governments have been unable to associate reduced rates with higher returns.

    Its a fact of life the greater the tax burden the more time and effort that gets invested in working around the impediment. While the lower the tax, the more the taxpayer is inclined to contribute. Simple cost benefit analysis.

    The simpler and more equal the tax the greater the return.

  16. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    A start, but much more can be done — The chancellor should be putting pressure on all government departments to cut out waste – stop the perks – reduce staff – provide justification for all costs over £1,000 and get approval from minister directly – no more jollies – etc etc

    Oh, and FGS, cut out out all those useless quangos

    It’s not only the public that should be made to pull in their belts

  17. Steven
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Alternatively you could reopen the economy your party has shut and mortally wounded.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink


  18. a-tracy
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    4. If the railways are using our taxes to prop themselves up without customers it should give every taxpayer a free rail pass for £50 worth of journey. The railways shouldn’t get all this money for nothing.

  19. formula57
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Re. 2. Collect payments for using the NHS…. – the 1970’s wants its call to action back.

    We must accept that the Government is just not interested in this point.

  20. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The simple solution to VED is to scrap it entirely and put an extra tax on fuel (although I know we already have fuel taxed)

    Thus its your choice to pay more for purchasing and using a thirsty car, and more the more miles you complete, or less for a more efficient vehicle if that is what you want.

    No one then escapes paying, as payment is automatic, its same collection system as now, so no additional people systems required for collection.

    You can then scrap a complete department, who do not have to collect VED, who do not have to chase up and fine those who do not comply, it also saves Police and Court time as well.

  21. Dave Andrews
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Small beer.
    To cut the deficit, decide how much needs to be spent on health, education, defence and how much of the deficit to pay down, given that interest payments continue regardless, then ration benefits and state pensions out of what’s left.
    This generation has voted in governments that have ballooned the national debt, so it’s this generation that should be paying it back. The children should not have to pay for the indulgence of their parents.

  22. Arthur Wrightiss
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’m sure most people will agree with Sir J’s comments, and many of those contributing. Cut out Government waste, lower taxes, reduce bureaucracy etc etc. All excellent common sense. Maybe that’s why very little is ever done.

  23. Fred H
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Drop point 3 — car sales does little for the UK.
    Drastically reduce Foreign Aid, Drop HS2, serious pruning of Quangos and Civil service, create jobs in food production, review Dr contract for NHS, reduce scope of spending by Councils on non-essential activities.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink


  24. Alison
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Excellent. Re-shoring. I strongly support the HGV levy. I’ve not been on the motorways for about a year, but used to see more big continental trucks (in particular, vehicles registered in eastern/central Europe) than big UK ones – and that was well north of Birmingham.
    Also, could we get more freight back on to the canals?

  25. Martyn G
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I read today in the DT that Public sector costs have now risen to around 50% of the national income and that since the 1960’s government has never managed to raise more than around 38-39% of national income via taxes. If, as it is claimed the national deficit this year will be circa £300 billion, and that government is currently borrowing some £37 million every hour of the day, it seems to me that there is little or no chance of a recovery being made in the foreseeable future. I fear for our children and grand children’s future, we now facing a trashed economy which will somehow they will have to pay for.

  26. Aden
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    1. Return to charging every visiting foreign truck a fee for using our roads.

    So we pay more for our goods. In other words we pay for your fiscal incompetence

    2. Collect payments for using the NHS on all visitors from overseas

    So this deficit, how much is caused by the incompetence in not charging? That needs infrastructure, and that costs which we are going to be forced to pay for. Perhaps you should look at your migration policy

    3. Cut the VED rate on new cars to stimulate more new car purchases.

    Why not abolish all VED? A simple small increase in fuel duty, and you don’t need 5000 of the 5,500 working at the DVLA.

    4. Initiate an urgent review of the plan for the railways.

    The review will save us. Here’s a simple solution. To fund the railways people buy tickets.

  27. jerry
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    “Return to charging every visiting foreign truck a fee for using our roads.”

    If this is meant to be a means to raise tax receipts for HMT, I suspect it might backfire, that is not to say HMT will not see its coffers filled by VED style tax receipts but they will come from hard working UK hauliers who would likely be contracted to pick-up/drop-off unaccompanied trailers at our channel and CTRL ports of entry/exit… Also the extra costs of distribution here in the UK will simply be passed onto the consumer, if anything we need to be finding ways to reduce the cost of transport, both business and consumer, not increase them!

  28. villaking
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Surely removing the state pension “triple lock” needs to be added to the list? This would produce a large and almost immediate saving and helps level things up as pensioners have not yet had to contribute to this awful economic mess the government has made. Deferring public sector pay increases would also seem just.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      We have the lowest pensions in the western world. A real disgrace!

    • graham1946
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Except for the small matter that the state pension is the lowest in the civilised world at less than one third of average earnings and needs to be brought up to a reasonable level. Two million elderly people receive less than 60 percent of median income and are in relative poverty – this has increased since 2013 even with the much vaunted triple lock. Not something this country or the Tories should be proud of. The pensioners have contributed to government incompetence for donkeys years, not just during the virus.

      • graham1946
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        PS How does the UK pension compare to the cost of hotels free board and lodging, free phone contracts, free clothing allowance and £40 per week given to illegal immigrants do you think? I’m sure most pensioners would love a pension like that, especially as they have paid 40 years tax for it whereas the freeloaders have paid nothing.

        • villaking
          Posted September 26, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          Point of order: asylum seekers do not get free board, clothes and phones, this is a myth perpetuated by bigots. They are given accommodation (rather than leaving them on the street) but they have no say over where. On top they receive 37.75 per week for food and toiletries. Some charities donate other things like clothing but it is not a taxpayer obligation

  29. ukretired123
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    We need a post Brexit clean sweep approach to reality which favours the income generators and not the hangers-on.

  30. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    This was an article written not by John Redwood MP (ardent Thatcherite) but an article written by a politician that can no longer speak his mind for fear of retribution from his own side

    stand as an independent John.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Sir John will have little trouble being re-elected in Wokingham unless the massive house building fills up with the leftie Civil Servants.

      The problem might be that he could be quite a lonely Conservative MP.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    reply I have also set out spending cuts I support, starting with HS2. Not everything is a conspiracy.


    nearly everything
    political conspiracy is a fact of history

  32. kenneth
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I would also propose that non-UK passport holders wishing to enter the UK pay a bond (say £10,000) which is refundable when they leave the UK within a reasonable time.

    A simple insurance scheme could cover most tourist, student and business needs.

    Over-stayers would not be refunded of course.

    Companies or organisations wishing to import people could pay the bond themselves.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      It only needs a visa with a valid insurance to enter the UK – you know like most countries of the world

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        +1 no passport, no visa, no entry!

  33. turboterrier
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    No1: Why not all vehicles visiting the UK? Added to the price of the ferry or train ticket and collected from the companies direct.

    Put 25% VAT on all fines levied and collected by councils and the monies raised taken from their yearly funding allowance. The council has an immediate 25% income on all fines which they can use immediately.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Commercial lorries should only be given 24hrs to leave the UK upon delivery or else pay a heavy fine – quite a few stay for up to 6 months doing local work without the appropriate insurance and tax and compete and undercut local firms

  34. tyranny
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I’ve just heard that muzzles are set to become compulsory anywhere outside. Is this true? I said that it it only be a matter of time until they did this when they made it mandatory in the shops.

  35. BOF
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    You are quite right Sir John and your ideas are excellent.

    The drawback is that these are all measures that a conservative government would take, which we do not have. Instead we have a deeply liberal/socialist government bent on enmeshing the country in massive debt, with large numbers dependent on the state or unemployed, businesses broken and a much reduced tax take.

    All caused by government closure of business (especially private) on the advice of discredited scientists, some with vested interests in as yet unproven vaccines.

    `There can be no change without a complete reversal of policy and I cannot see that conservative MP’s have the courage to force the change, which inevitably means a change of leadership.

  36. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    More soft talk. Mustn’t risk upsetting anyone.

    Item 2. ‘Encourage’. This should be ‘require’ or ‘demand’. Add that those who should collect money are to be disciplined if they don’t.

    Otherwise thete will be no change.

  37. graham1946
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    All o.k. except number 3 – reduce VED on new cars. The classic Tory stance of feather bedding the well off and corporations at the expense of the poor (which we are all fast becoming). Car purchasing was going like a bomb until the government caught the climate religion and started messing around with emissions etc. which make no difference outside of big cities. Reverse all the green crap and let business thrive without the extra cost of energy etc. and the people would also have money in their pockets to spend in the economy and not on direct taxation. Then you get growth, but restoring confidence after recent years of tax bashing, stealing peoples’ money is going to be an uphill job. The highest tax burden, under the ‘low tax’ Tories and more to come with Covid19 providing the excuse to keep people down.

  38. Caterpillar
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I am concerned about both the long term damage and the sustainability of Johnson, Hancock and Sunak’s peculiar policy choices. But they cannot be effectively interrogated

    Without transparency i.e. clear neutral publication (for electorate and MPs) of

    (i) the historic and present implied infected fatality ratios as a function of age and comorbidities with method of calculation

    (ii) new cases and new cases as percentage by specimen date, broken down to pillar 1&2 and asymptomatics & symptomatics (assessed by region)

    (iii) the where and how of the new elderly cases

    (iv) the socio-economic costs

    Nor without democracy i.e.

    (i) HoC debate and vote prior to any changes

    (ii) Termination of Coronovirus Act

    (iii) More MPs able and prepared to rationally argue the evidence.

  39. Caterpillar
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    In terms of the effect of deficit and growing debt. If position is short term sustainable then the issue is intergenerational consumption in which case economic growth per capita remains the key (intergenerational consumption trumps intergenerational taxation), so the historical list:

    security and freedom

    constant, fair, reliable law

    high level of income high level of education (it’s a loop) – Currently failing as indicated by maths and English GCSEs.

    high level of income high productivity per capita (it’s a loop) – Currently failing due to mass immigration and possibly needs based benefits both enabling a low wage model. High wages drive the need for capital investment, process innovation and ‘real’ training and vice versa.

    large interconnected cities leading to cross fertilisation of technologies and cultures, scale for reduced service costs ( e.g. health, policing, infrastructure), scale for entrepreneurship (connected at scale cities enable start ups at both born local and born global level) – Currently failing in short term due to Covid response, in long term due to planning favouring suburban sprawl etc.

    low energy prices (was historically important, some debate on future importance but still needs to be secure)

    obtaining and improving on know-how from other countries (e.g. US from UK, S.Korea from Japan, China from world)

  40. Keith from Leeds
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Hello Sir John,
    Growth will never reduce the deficit on its own. As any business person will tell you you have to ruthlessly control your costs. But this government does not do so, nor did most previous governments. It refuses to cut overseas Aid but tell me which MP borrows money to give away in their personal finances? ALB & Public bodies are now spending £206 billion a year, that is where to look for cuts. PHE fails in a key task but instead of closing it down it is just renamed & carries right on spending money. I warn you if you don’t make cuts while you have choices you will have to make them with no choice.

  41. Christine
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Until Government gets a grip on spending there is no hope of reducing the deficit. The public has been crying out for reform for years. With an 80 seat majority there is no excuse not to tackle the waste we can see all around us. There is so much talent on the Conservative back benches yet Boris surrounds himself with weak career politicians. If he wants to get re-elected he needs to start listening to the people. Cutting immigration, legal aid, foreign aid, HoLs, BBC, NHS waste, quangos, diversity waste, climate change spending would be a start but I don’t hold out any hope. It’s as if the Government is in some sort of liberal woke bubble. They are certainly not conservative.

    • Stred
      Posted September 26, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Whole in one.

  42. forthurst
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Let us do maximum damage to the economy and people’s lives in order to compensate for the government’s inability to get a functional test and trace system working.

    There have been several articles in the DT which examine, belatedly, the German performance in handling Covid-19 and what is very clear is that their approach has been nothing but scientific. Their comparatively much lower fatality rate per population has been as a result of their focus on eliminating clusters as they develop as rapidly as possible by testing and tracing contacts of those with disease. They have not been doing more tests than we have; however, they have focused testing where it will have most effect whilst constraining their coverage to match the availability of testing materials and laboratory capacity to achieve a rapid turnaround of results.

    Reading between the lines, people with PPE degrees in the German endeavour are conspicuous by their absence. This means there has been no attempt to centralise the testing and tracing operation and no performing more tests than laboratory capacity to produce rapid results etc.

  43. zorro
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Good to see that you are supporting the Brady amendment at least…. Please vote against the infamous Coronavirus Act.


    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink


  44. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    In place of 3
    Close down the NHS for all but emergencies.
    Set up an insurance based system for all elective healthcare.
    Insist on all arrivals carrying full medical insurance.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Close down the NHS, BBC, Welsh Assembly, Scottish ‘parliament’, London Assembly, Half of all Govt Departments.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        sounds pretty good to me.

      • bill brown
        Posted September 26, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        NHS absolute nonsense

  45. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Some very good ideas here John.

  46. MarkLeigh
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    competitive tendering – yes. so long as the full cost of NOT purchasing locally (UK) is included. Not just cheapest bid.

    e.g. ongoing welfare etc payments as companies shut and towns die…..

  47. Peter
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    1/ you forget tgat British trucks tracel on EU roads as well

    2/ Brits are looked after for accessing EU countries hospitals ok- I have nevef heard about any of them being turned away anywhere

    3/ my car is 20years old and still running fine- what do I want a new one for?

    4/ I am a long time retired and am sorry for those who have to travel long distance

    5/ point no5 is gobblygook- to me anyway- can hardly read it

  48. John Partington
    Posted September 26, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Stop importing all the low grade goods from China and re-instate British industry to make British products. Buy British where you can.

  49. Peter Martin
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    It’s important not to mistake an anti-inflation policy for a deficit reduction policy.

    If you want to reduce inflation cut Govt spending and raise taxation. But don’t expect either to reduce the deficit. Govt spending comes back as increased taxation revenue sooner or later. Reduced taxation speeds up a flagging economy which will increase taxation revenue.

    If you want to reduce the deficit you’ll need to reduce imports and increase exports. The Govts deficit has to equal the sum of everyone else’s surplus. The surplus is mainly the overseas sector which sells us more than it buys from us.

    Tariffs are one possibility but the way most net exporters do it is by manipulation of their currencies – downwards. This may not be too popular electorally.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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